Colombia has extradited 1,149 of its citizens to the U.S. during the eight years of President Alvaro Uribe‘s time in office, and a total of 1,482 since extradition was appoved in 1984 reports El Tiempo.
El Tiempo investigated Colombia’s extradition history, after U.S. Ambassador to Colombia William Brownfield announced Wednesday that he will seek to adjust the U.S-Colombia extradition treaty.
“Although extradition has become less valuable, it is still a valid instrument, as long as it doesn’t displace Colombian justice,” commented former Colombian Prosecutor General Alfonso Gomez, in reaction to Brownfield’s announcement.
“The [extradition] treaty works well. Conditions need to be created so that Colombia is properly aware of what happens to extradited [citizens] in terms of the evidence and goods that they negotiate with American justice,” commented former Justice Minister Carlos Medellin.
Brownfield announced his revision plan after the Colombian Supreme Court’s rejected the extradition requests for several former paramilitary leaders.
The court rejected extradition requests for Freddy “El Aleman” Rendon Herrera, Daniel “Don Mario” Rendon Herrera and Edward “Diego Vecino” Cobos Tellez, because it prioritized their continued participation in Colombia’s Justice and Peace process – a tribunal which offers demobilized paramilitaries a reduced sentence in return for information about the atrocities committed by Colombia’s paramilitary forces.
Brownfield stressed that he would seek reform to the extradition treaty “so that the [Colombian] Court can be assured that the extradited citizens will continue to collaborate with the Justice and Peace law” while serving their sentence in the U.S.
The Commander of Colombia’s armed forces Freddy Padilla agreed, commenting that there need to be changes to ensure that extradited paramilitaries continue to give evidence and participate in the Justice and Peace process from the U.S.
In the majority of the extradition cases, the extradited Colombians were criminals wanted by U.S. authorities, as well as in by Colombia’s own judicial system, on charges of drug-trafficking and money laundering, according to El Tiempo.
Colombia began approving the extradition of criminals to the U.S. more than twenty years ago, in an attempt to sever the lines of communications that appeared to remain between convicts imprisoned in Colombian jails and their still-active criminal associates.